Hales Corners — Sense of humor and integrity are the things that define Village Administrator Mike Weber, said Mike Harrigan, the chairman of the board for Ehlers and Associates, who has worked with countless administrators across the state.
"The guy's always got a smile and a laugh, not matter what the situation is, and that makes life worth living. It makes it a pleasure to work for people like this," Harrigan said. "Secondly, and this is the word that most comes to mind when I think of Mike, and that's integrity. ... Here you have a man with solid credentials and solid integrity."
Hales Corners bid farewell to Weber, their longest-serving village administrator, who served the village for 22 years before retiring August 4.
The village has seen 13 admins, with Weber being "the lucky 13th." A typical village administrator holds the job for five to seven years, according to Village President Bob Ruesch. Weber has filled the role for nearly four times that, serving the village for 34 percent of its life.
Two decades of impact
Through two decades, Weber has guided the village through the creation of three TIF districts, a remodeling of village hall, Act 10, reorganizing village staff, and many other high-impact changes.
"He kept this village floating," said trustee Linda Teschendorf. "He really worked his magic. ... We used to always say, 'Mike pulled one out of the hat.'"
Of course, Weber's true talents are not magical, but professional. Reflecting on his career with the village, many praise his financial savvy, city planning skills, and professionalism.
"Mike is a professional to the bottom line, and it's not easy having seven bosses. That's hard for people to imagine, having so many people that maybe aren't on the same page at times," explained trustee Dan Besson. "But Mike has the ability to take projects and requests and prioritize them. That's a unique ability."
Weber worked in government for many years throughout Wisconsin in Winnebago County, Mequon, Kenosha, and Mount Pleasant. In 1994, when he was looking to travel to a new town, he was offered jobs at both Hartland and Hales Corners, and chose Hales Corners.
"I've never looked back. This was the right decision," Weber said.
Honoring Mike Weber
To celebrate Weber's two decades with the village, they held a party in the village hall where they honored him with plaques, gifts, and a performance from an Irish river dancer, since he will take a trip to Ireland shortly after retiring.
The Hales Corners library also recognized Weber that night by presenting the book that will be donated to the library with his name in the front, a tradition the library uses to honor those who have had a significant impact in the village.
Weber chose "Frank Lloyd Wright: Preservation, Design, and Adding to Iconic Buildings" to be added to the library's collection.
"He choose a favorite subject, Frank Lloyd Wright, which I think is so very appropriate not only because of his interest and love in Frank Lloyd Wright and architecture, but because of what he has brought to the village and all of the developments that have taken place in his 22 years here," said Library Director Patricia Laughlin.
Though everyone who spoke at the retirement party praised Weber in different ways, all were unanimous: He will be missed in the village.
"He is a top-notch guy who is going to be missed very, very much," said Majorie Stahl. "He's a class act, and believe me, we will miss him."